Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook 'Proud to Be Gay'

Morning Money Memo:

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's proud to be gay. In an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook has become the highest-profile business leader to come out as gay. Cook says that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. "I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important," he writes. "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me." Three days ago, Cook, 53, challenged his home state of Alabama to better ensure the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Alabama is among the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it also doesn't offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Cook, who succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs, is a native of Robertsdale, Alabama, and attended Auburn University. Cook says "being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day." Cook is the highest-profile business leader to come out as gay.

(Photo Credit: Brynn Anderson/AP Photo)

After facing sharp criticism for weak oversight, U.S. auto safety regulators are telling a company that made faulty air bags to manufacture replacement parts faster and do more testing to find out what's causing the problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sent letters to Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. and 10 automakers seeking information about air bags.

Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and consumer groups want an investigation of NHTSA. Regulators have come under fire for their handling of GM ignition switches and Takata airbags. "It's absolutely time for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be put under the microscope because it's been one major defect after another that they've failed the American public on," says Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group. "All too many of the top officials at the agency go to work for the industry after retiring. People from the industry come to work at the agency, so it's a revolving door and that's part of the problem."

Samsung Electronics says its quarterly profits plunged 49 percent to around $4 billion, the lowest in two years. Sales dropped 20 percent. Analysts said the Galaxy S5 smartphone launched in April did not sell well. The South Korean company is pledging to overhaul its handset lineup.

The unemployment rate for young veterans is far higher than the nationwide average. Some major corporations are involved in a growing effort to re-train military men and women for civilian jobs. When Army Sgt. 1st Class John McCuen leaves the military next year, he will have a special skill as an auto technician. "It is a 12-week, action-packed course just to give us a job on the outside," McCuen told ABC News. The course at Fort Hood, Texas, is a partnership between the Army, General Motors and Raytheon. "We learn everything from tearing apart the engines, from troubleshooting the wiring and computer problem," he said. A new course began this week. McCuen hopes to get a job when he leaves the military with "the same training that any General Motors technician gets when he's at a dealership."

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow